Jannik Hansen has joined the ranks of many NHLers who have inked deals to play in Europe on account of the NHL lockout. Hansen, who had earlier alluded to the possibility of playing “back home” in Denmark in case of a lockout, signed on to play for the Tappara Tampere of the Finnish Elite league, Tuesday.
The Herlev, Denmark native, voiced frustration as the reason for why he opted to play in Europe: “I didn’t want to sit at home anymore. I had enough of waiting for something to happen. I wanted to take it in my own hands and get going” (x).
He continued, “[w]e’re hockey players. We don’t want to be sitting at home or fooling around by ourselves. We want to be playing meaningful games” (x). The decision was an easy one for him, he explains, hockey players “want to play. We don’t want to be sitting, waiting around for the owners to come forth and talk with us. [So,] [i]t was a fairly simple decision” (x).
Hansen ultimately felt that it was time for him to get back to playing competitive hockey and assure that his game was at its best for when the Danish national team attempts to qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. He explains, “we have Olympic qualifications for Denmark in February and if somehow [the NHL] couldn’t figure out the lockout [by then], I wanted to make sure I was playing and in good shape” (x).
In his debut with the Tappara Tampere on Thursday, the 26 year old Dane, notched 3 points (1 goal and 2 assists) and helped his team to a 5-1 victory over the Kalpa Kuopio. Hansen told reporters that his debut “went well” and that he was happy to record a win with his new team (x).
Seems like Hansen has picked up right where he left off last season, having tallied a career high 39 points (16 goals and 23 assists) with the Canucks. The offensive contribution is more than welcomed by the Tappara Tampere, who are pleased to have a President’s trophy winner and Western conference champion join their team (x).